Investigation into the case of Sophia Koetsier, missing in Uganda, possibly on hold due to insurance company’s refusal to guarantee costs of search

Press release

Investigation into the case of Sophia Koetsier, missing in Uganda, possibly on hold due to insurance company’s refusal to underwrite costs of search

Amsterdam – April 27 2016 – After months of discussion, it has become apparent that Sophia Koetsier’s travel insurers interpret their obligations under the policy differently than expected. Sophia has travel insurance in which a search for the insured going missing is explicitly covered. The one condition is that the search must take place in cooperation with the authorities. This is the case here, as both the Dutch and the Ugandan authorities are cooperating. In spite of this the insurance company is refusing to underwrite the cost of the search operation.

Since the preliminary investigation conducted by Frank van de Goot in early April it has become clear that the possibility of Sophia being alive cannot be ruled out beyond doubt. Therefore, everything has to be done to enable a search  to start as soon as possible. The search team has worked tirelessly to find a solution to the enormous (procedural) obstacles that come with a search abroad.
The Dutch authorities are willing to help but have no authority in Uganda. As it now turns out, the Ugandan authorities see this investigation as wide open, do not want to exclude any scenario and are insisting on further investigation. It is for this reason they are pleased that a forensic search team is coming to Uganda to help them solve this mystery. Following a request of the Dutch authorities they have now given permission to the team to conduct a search and are willing to cooperate fully.

Meanwhile many donations have been made to the Find Sophia Foundation to finance the bulk of this costly operation. Unfortunately funds to cover the total amount necessary to conduct a safe search, have not as yet been collected. For this reason the Find Sophia Foundation asked Sophia’s travel insurer, on behalf of her family, to underwrite the costs. After weeks of daily requests for an answer from the insurance company, they rejected the request yesterday evening. The family, the Find Sophia Foundation and the search team, which is already in Uganda in order not to lose more precious time, are all deeply disappointed, astonished and shocked by this incomprehensible decision. The request to the insurer to reconsider this decision has fallen on deaf ears.

What next?
We deliberated well into the night on the various possibilities left to us. The search team, the Foundation and, of course, the family, are all of the opinion that the search for Sophia must go on. But we cannot do this without further financial support. Over the coming days we will try to find this additional financial support and we kindly ask everyone who can afford it to make a donation to the Find Sophia Foundation. We will do our utmost to find an alternative and feasible solution so that we do not have to call off the search for Sophia.

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